The beauty and attraction of colour and shape

Have you ever wondered why we find the beauty of colour and shape in a bowl of varied fruit irresistible?

Or similarly, why we’ve all at some time I’m sure, had to try every colour of Smartie or M&M’s although they taste pretty much the same?

Or how once we’ve opened a box of chocolates the different shapes tempt us to try the others too?

There are two interlinked behaviours going on here which brands have used for many years to their advantage.

As primeval humans we learned that by eating a variety of different fruits, vegetables and herbs, we could benefit our health – providing energy and protection against illnesses.

In modern times we came to understand that the different colours and shapes in foods were as a consequence of their distinct nutritional benefits which varied from say red coloured tomatoes to purple carrots.

And we now understand that the beauty of colour, representing different antioxidants and phytochemicals play a major role in preventing heart disease, cancer and many other illnesses:

  • Red: Lycopenes and Anthocyanin: Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Grapes, Red Onion.
  • Yellow/Orange: Carotenoids and Bioflavanoids: Yellow Peppers, Carrots, Citrus Fruits.
  • Blue/Purple: Anthocyanins and Phenolics: Eggplant, Currants, Figs.
  • Green: Lutein and Indoles: Broccoli, Lettuce, Cucumber.
  • White: Allicins: Onions, Garlic.

So the expression ‘as happy as a child in a sweet shop’ is well-founded on our love of different colours and shapes.

And this has never been more relevant with the power of social media and instagram in particular focusing on presenting visually stunning photographs as a representation of many food and drink brands with vibrant colours and contrasts, creating visually arresting imagery.

As they say ‘variety is the spice of life.’

But of course, it’s not just the variety of colour and shapes in foods that are important in shaping our decision behaviour, its the varying shapes of packaging and the colours used within brands and packaging that influence our purchase behaviour, as well as acting as a visual shorthand to help us identify products within a busy retail environment.

If you’d like to find out more about how I’ve been helping clients create fabulously engaging products and brands, take a look at Food Brand Strategist.

And to explore how I can help you, ping an email so we can schedule a call.

Last Updated on 25/11/2023 by Eddie Stableford

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